So I figured out what feels off about the cover of Wayfarer. Linden has a mop of unruly brown curls. The girl on the cover is far too calm and well-brushed to be Linden.
And the fact that I know this—the fact that I know who Linden is and I know that her hair is always a little messy (“Her head was bent, her face hidden behind her turbulence of hair.”), and I know that she’s always got a bit of a breathless look on her face—is proof that RJ Anderson has given me a character who is alive, in my mind. A character who has a definite personality. A character who feels like a real person.
Wayfarer is the story of Timothy, a missionary kid, questioning the faith of his parents and searching for truth; and Linden, youngest of the faeries of the Oakenwyld, and the one called upon to save her people.
The Oakenfolks are dwindling, the queen is dying, and Linden is charged with finding faeries wiling to share their magic. She and Timothy, faced with a common foe, end up bound to one another in a fight for survival.
Reasons I loved this book:
- I like the characters. All the characters feel real to me. More than that, I really cared about Timothy and Linden. They were brave, and honest, and loyal, and easy to love, even though neither one was perfect.
- The story is exciting and I wanted to see how the Oakenfolk would survive.
- There is real danger. I really worried about Timothy and Linden.
So the first time I read the book, I whipped through it, just enjoying the story. I liked these kids and was rooting for them from the start. I enjoyed seeing Knife and Paul again, because I loved them in Spell Hunter. And I wanted to find out more about the Oakenfolk and see if they would get their magic back.
But the second time I read the story, I picked up on something that I think is important to the author, because I’ve seen it in both books now. It’s the matter of Christian isolation. Anderson is not a fan of isolationism, I think I can safely say. She wants to see missionaries go out instead of Christians circling the wagons against a hostile world.
In the first book the faeries find out that their isolation is killing them. Killing their creativity first, and then literally killing them.
In this book the author once again speaks against isolationists (I won’t say how, exactly, because I don’t want to give spoilers.) But she adds to this book some thoughts on hypocrisy.
There are Christians who should be following the command to “let your light so shine before men that they would see your good works and praise your Father in heaven.” Instead, these people are persecuting the stranger in their midst. And so the Father is not praised. Instead, his very existence is called into question.
The book is full of false appearances—an old church that is now a place of evil and oppression, invisible islands, and beautiful antagonists. There are also faeries who disguise themselves, pretending to be something they’re not, so they can take advantage of others. There are other faeries who say they are in favor of love, but aren’t willing to do the hard work of loving.
Finally we arrive at the end, and we find the true heroes. The ones who live as they say they believe. The ones who reject hypocrisy and are willing to sacrifice to save others simply because it’s the right thing to do.
This was a very satisfying book…maybe not quite as good as the first one. Hard to say. I always do love the first meeting of a new place and a new people best, I think. But this was very good. I eagerly await the next one!